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Energetics is tracking the progress of corporate renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs). These long-term deals are being concluded by some of Australia’s largest energy users. A well-designed PPA has the potential to deliver multiple benefits: electricity cost reductions, the ability to hedge against energy market volatility, greater budget certainty and emissions reductions in keeping with a net zero or carbon neutrality commitment. For the most complete view of this market we track the following:

  • Size of generation capacity supported by PPAs (MW): This reflects the size of the utility scale project (larger than 10 megawatts (MW)) that has successfully incorporated corporate PPAs in their revenue strategies. For many this meant a number of separate transactions – often over an extended period of time. The year reflects the first transaction. For others, it was one big transaction with a single corporate or a buying group. Nonetheless, even if the PPA was for only part of the project capacity, the project often would not have secured financial close without the PPA.
  • Size of the contracts secured (GWh): This reflects the annual size of the offtake volume (larger than 10 gigawatt hours (GWh)) an energy user contracted for in a single transaction, in the year the transaction was concluded or announced.

Generation capacity of projects supported by PPAs (MW)

The market has grown rapidly in recent years from only a single deal concluded in 2016 (Victorian Government, own use of LGCs). Since then, corporate PPAs have supported projects with a combined capacity of nearly 4600MW, of which about 3800MW enabled investment in new projects.

As at 31 March 2020, approximately 50% of the projects by total capacity is solar, 7% a mix of wind and solar, with the remainder wind. Whilst Victorian projects continue to dominate, accounting for 34% of project capacity (about 1500MW) supported by corporate PPAs since 2016, NSW energy users have contracted for a larger volume of output than other states in 2018 and 2019 as illustrated below.

Size of contracts (estimated annual offtake – GWh)

2017 was dominated by a handful of large transactions by early movers, with the average transaction size approximately 250GWh pa. In 2018 the average size dropped off markedly to around 100GWh. By 2019 it was 80GWh pa, due to a large number of sub-50GWh transactions intermediated by retailers. In fact, in 2019 retail-intermediated PPAs accounted for 54% of the volume contracted in GWh, compared to 15% in 2017.

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